By Lindsey Wiebe
Winnipeg Free Press
June 17, 2008
Dozens of Manitobans have joined a class-action lawsuit over a stolen
laptop that contained private information from 32,000 Canadian farmers,
according to a Saskatchewan law office.
The statement of claim was filed Monday morning in the Saskatchewan
Court of Queen's Bench. It accuses federal Agriculture and Agri-Food
Minister Gerry Ritz and the Carman-based Canadian Canola Growers
Association of showing "reckless disregard" in the storage of
unencrypted personal data on the laptop, stolen in March.
Although only two plaintiffs are named, roughly 100 people are involved,
said Tony Merchant of the Merchant Law Group, which filed the statement.
He said roughly one-third of those involved are from Manitoba.
Farmers named include Manitoban Darryl Oliver, who lives on a farm in
the Rural Municipality of Archie.
Oliver was "shocked and emotionally dismayed to learn that his
confidential information was in the hands of a thief," according to the
statement of claim, and especially surprised his data was still being
stored, considering he quit farming actively in 2005.
The statement goes on to say the plaintiffs suffered "severe and
significant emotional distress and trauma, and economic loss or damage."
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